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A Welcome Return

Norton & Townsend raise a glass to the resurgence of the dinner jacket and reveal how velvet elegance will be all the rage at this year’s Christmas gatherings and beyond.

In an era where the boundaries between work and leisure have blurred, the significance of the festive season’s soirées has taken on a new meaning. As the year winds down and the festive spirit takes over, the question on everyone’s mind is: What to wear to the much-anticipated Christmas party?


The traditional office setting has undergone a transformation, with many of us adapting to the work-from-home lifestyle. But does this mean the end of the grand Christmas party? Far from it. The office party has evolved, becoming more than just a gathering—it’s now an emblem of unity, a brilliant strategy to bring teams together after months of virtual interactions.

And what better way to mark the occasion than by dressing the part? The classic black tie invitation is making a comeback, but with a twist that allows its recipient to push the boundaries when it comes to individual expression.


Enter the velvet jacket, or as the connoisseurs call it, the smoking jacket. Once the exclusive domain of the host, these jackets are now making waves in fashion circles. They bring a touch of vibrancy to a sea of conventional black suits. Whether you’re a traditionalist, gravitating towards timeless shades of navy, red, and green, or a modernist, experimenting with contemporary hues, a velvet jacket ensures you make a statement. After all, who wouldn’t want to channel the suave elegance of the Kingsmen or the flamboyance of James Bond?


For those who prefer to blend in rather than stand out, the black barathea dinner suit is a fail-safe option. This fine English cloth, characterised by its subtle diagonal weave and broken rib effect, is the epitome of sophistication. Historically designed to offer warmth in chilly banquet halls, today’s version retains its classic appearance but with a lighter touch.

Yet, if you believe black is the ultimate choice, consider its sophisticated cousin: midnight blue. Almost indistinguishable from black, this shade has graced many a celebrity on the red carpet, offering a richness that black often lacks.


When it comes to dinner suits, the choices are plentiful. From deciding between single or double-breasted designs to choosing the perfect lapel, the options can be overwhelming. While the double-breasted suit exudes authority, it’s not for everyone. The single-breasted counterpart, on the other hand, flatters all body types and for those debating between a cummerbund and a waistcoat, modern designs offer stylish and practical alternatives.

Lapels, too, come in various styles—Notch, Peak, or Shawl. Each has its own unique charm, with the shawl collar, reminiscent of the smoking jacket, gaining popularity in recent years.

In the world of men’s fashion, personalisation is key. While traditions offer a guideline, there are no hard and fast rules. Whether you opt for satin-faced lapels or experiment with unconventional materials, remember that the best outfit is one that reflects your personality. So, as the party season approaches, embrace the opportunity to showcase your style, and most importantly, have fun doing it.

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